Cassadaga DVD review
|REVIEWS - DVD REVIEWS|
A supernatural torture-porn outing that veers wildly in quality but leaves the viewer with some memorable moments...
The latest in the line of direct-to-DVD horror movies from the After Dark stable is a supernatural/torture porn hybrid called Cassadaga.
Having seen a few of their ‘Originals’ (link to previous reviews, Scream Of The Banshee and The Task, I wasn’t expecting much - however this was a little more coherent and even contained some scares. Whether this is down to the fact that it wasn’t made by a newbie (director Anthony DiBlasi previously made the Clive Barker adaptation Dread) I can’t say, but it certainly felt more like a ‘real’ film.
Cassadaga stars Kelen Coleman as Lily, a deaf art teacher who loses her younger sister in a car accident in the early stages of the film. Spurred on by this tragic event Lily decides to enrol in a course at Cassadaga University and finds board at the house of an old lady named Claire whose strange son still lives at home.
After meeting the divorced dad of a girl at the school in which she teaches, Lily tags along when his group of friends decide to visit a spiritualist. Seeing the opportunity for closure over her sister’s death Lily attempts to contact her dead sibling but things don’t quite go to plan – the spirit of a murdered young woman is unleashed. From this point on Lily witnesses many creepy goings on as she is haunted by the spirit.
But why is the spirit haunting Lily? Well that’s because the dead girl was killed in circumstances relating to the old house in which Lily now lives. And could Claire’s weird son be involved somehow? Probably. Thus two often separate genres of horror are brought together creating a slasher/torture porn/supernatural circle.
Beginning with a disgusting introduction seemingly unrelated to our heroine’s story, the film builds suspense and brings the scares using all manner of devices. The use of the two genres means scares can come from many different angles, and so we have frightening hallucinations/visions, suspense as Lily attempts to find some clues and ‘man with weapon’ chase sequences, all of which add up to a decent amount of horror.
The supernatural shocks are pretty standard as Lily sees dead people while tentacles and maggots appear from nowhere but the method of torture that the murderer uses is interesting if quite messed up; think human marionettes. However, apart from one scene, the killer’s reasons are never explained. Yes, it can be more horrifying if you don’t know a killer’s motives but to half-arsedly set up a reason and not expand on it seems like bad editing.
Another negative point which seems to be quite common in cheaper horror films, or those made by first time directors looking to impress, is the rushed ending where the crucial final scene takes place one minute before the credits, giving no time to tie up loose ends or even begin to expand on those pointless extra ideas thrown into the pot at the finale. And don’t even get me started on the abysmal coda, which again seems commonplace in modern horror. It just doesn’t make sense! If by the end of a film, despite any shortcomings, the story is wrapped up, why do director’s feel the need to then go back and erase any logic by a) having another dead person turn up, b) pretending it’s a dream inside a dream inside a dream etc (not like Inception) or c) skipping 3 years and having the killer come back? Okay so the last one is a slasher movie trope, but there really is no logic or fun behind the twenty-sixth Friday the 13th movie.
That said, I rather enjoyed Cassadaga. The use of a deaf heroine added tension and gave a new twist to traditional horror scenes, while the ideas behind the killer were quite unique, if not given enough room to breathe. Compared to those films mentioned at the top, this movie stands out as the scariest and though not as simple a set up as that of Husk (apparently the current jewel in After Dark’s crown) it goes top of my list. Here’s hoping we see more of the beautiful Kelen Coleman and a continued increase in quality from this horror stable who have recently announced they are to produce an action film series.
Director: Anthony DiBlasi
DVD Release Date: 16th April 2012
Running Time: 93 mins
Starring: Kelen Coleman, Kevin Alejandro, Louise Fletcher, J Larose
Cassadaga is out now.
IF YOU ENJOYED THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE HELP SUPPORT OUR SITE, AT NO COST WITH ONE CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK 'LIKE' BUTTON BELOW:
If you're interested in writing for Shadowlocked (disc and screening reviews, etc, or just getting some extra coverage for your extraordinary writing talent, get in touch with us.